Cybersecurity and Accounting for Nonprofits: Keeping Data Safe in an Unsafe World

accounting for nonprofits

These days, accounting for nonprofits isn’t just about balance sheets and income statements. It’s also about keeping financial data safe in an increasingly unsafe world. Cybersecurity is important for nonprofits and for-profits alike. The accounting department is often at the forefront of cybersecurity issues.

Even though nonprofits may not have proprietary product information they need to keep secure from prying eyes, you probably process credit card donations, donor information and other information that you wouldn’t want criminals to get their hands on. Keeping such data secure is an important part of today’s accounting for nonprofits.

Cybersecurity Risks Faced by Nonprofits

A recent article in the Journal of Accountancy detailed common cyber security risks faced by all types of companies. These risks include:

  1. Ignorance: It surprised me that ignorance was first on the list. I thought that everyone was aware of the risks posed today by cyber criminals, but apparently not. Ignorance may be bliss, but it’s also bad for nonprofits. Make sure that you apprise your board, directors, and president of the dangers of cyber theft, and put together an action plan to keep the data at your nonprofit secure.
  2. Passwords: Passwords are the Achilles’ heel of any business. A strong password can be tough to crack, but it can also be hard for your employees and volunteers to remember. Strong passwords include phrases that are significant to you but uncommon to others combined with numbers and punctuation. If you find it hard to remember all of your passwords, a password manager can be a lifesaver.
  3. Phishing: Phishing emails entice recipients to click on a link or divulge secure information. They trick users by mimicking authentic companies such as credit card or delivery companies. You may think it’s notification of computer fraud, for example, or a package delivery, but it ends up directing your personal information into the wrong hands. One way to combat phishing is through education. Train your team to think before they click. If someone receives a fraud warning email, don’t click on the link, but log into your credit card account in a different browser, or call the company to find out if it’s true. A little knowledge can go a long way to preventing your company’s information from getting into the wrong hands.
  4. Malware: You can pick up malware anywhere these days. Some malware is just annoying while other is downright dangerous. Install and use the best virus and malware detection tools you can buy. These are a good investment if they prevent even one malicious bit of code from entering into your server.
  5. Vulnerabilities: If there’s a crack in your firewall, thieves will find it. Make sure that your team knows it needs to update patches and software and test for vulnerabilities.

Nonprofits aren’t immune to cyber-thieves. Even something like malware infecting your office computers can completely stop the good work you’re doing as you battle against evil doers. Prevent these problems by knowing these steps to protect your company’s systems effectively.

Accounting for nonprofits today has to include a sword, helmet and armor in order to keep up your defenses, but fortunately, you’ve got the right equipment to do battle!

At RPB Methods, we take your system security seriously. Whether you’re running Abila Nonprofit Online™, AccuFund Anywhere or another great product, we offer consulting, training and support to help you choose, install, use and secure accounting products for nonprofits. Let us help you with your accounting software needs. Contact us today.